If it seems like your house never stays clean after you spend hours and hours trying to get it in tip-top shape, you’re probably just making some pretty common – and easily fixable – housekeeping mistakes. I’m here to help!
OK, let’s be honest here: Housekeeping is not for the faint of heart, especially during certain times in life like when you have young kids in the house. It’s something that you need to stay on top of at all times or the situation can quickly degrade into total chaos. Ask me how I know – said every mom ever. 🙂 There are things you can do to refine your skills though and make keeping your house clean feel like less of a rollercoaster ride. Some of the mistakes that we tend make are actually really common and some of them even seem like the “right” way of doing things. If it seems like your house never stays clean, here are some things to think about.
Things You’re Probably Doing to Make Your House Seem Like it Never Stays Clean
You Clean Your House All in One Day
Here’s a little hint: If you can tell me how long it takes for you to clean your house top-to-bottom, you’re doing it wrong. Spending six straight hours cleaning is just a recipe for burn-out. You’re going to feel exhausted. You’re going to feel like you’re done, and you’ve accomplished something, but you’ll definitely need a big break and you definitely won’t want to have to do that again for awhile. But guess what? Something else will need to cleaned or tidied again in about 30 minutes and you’re not going to feel like looking at a broom again for about 30 days.
When you use up all of your energy cleaning, you end up feeling like you should have earned quite a bit of freedom from needing to even think about cleaning again for awhile. And you feel like you’ve earned the right to live in a sparkly clean house for at least a little while, but we all know that it really just never lasts, does it? A little bit at a time is the way to go. Establish routines that have you cleaning just a bit every day and your house will stay cleaner, more consistently.
You Have Too Much Stuff
You think your stuff is just stuff. It isn’t dirty, it’s just clutter. But what about what’s lurking under all that stuff? And around it? The truth is that clutter gets in the way of cleaning and it makes it take way longer. It can also trap dirt and dust in corners of your house that would otherwise stay pretty clean on their own.
You Have Nowhere to Put Your Stuff
Do you ever hear the old saying “a place for everything and everything in its place” and think it’s just a cutesy old-fashioned phrase for housewives from the 1950’s, but that it’s not really applicable to modern life? It’s funny because when you start to think about it, this little saying might be even more applicable to life now than it was to life back then. With our over-stuffed homes and easy access to all kinds of everything for cheap, this is a reminder that we really need now for living a peaceful life at home. Whoever first said “a place for everything and everything in its place” was ahead of their time. 🙂
Consider this: If you don’t have a place for something in your home and it’s just hanging around getting in the way, are you better off having it in your life, or would it actually be better for you to get rid of it? Instead of always fussing about needing more storage solutions, maybe spend some time fussing over making your possessions fit into the space you already have available in your home, right now. Get rid of the excess, then work on consciously choosing homes for the items that you do keep, so when you see something out of place, you know exactly where it needs to go, without really even having to think about it.
And of course, grab a few bins and baskets as necessary. You know I love those too. 🙂
You’re Waiting for Others to Help You
If you’re a mom, chances are there are times when you feel like you do the majority of the work around the house. And chances are that you often feel like this isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. We live in modern times, after all and it’s important for everyone in the house – huband and kids included – to pitch in equally, right?
Well, this is true… and it isn’t. If you’re here reading this because you feel like your house never stays clean, you might be the only one in your house who is bothered by it. Or you might be the only one who is equipped to deal with it. We think that we need to all pitch in and help out to get the house clean, but in fact, if you look at it a little backwards, you might find that you’re more successful.
Instead, try getting your house clean first, on your own, and see what happens. You might find that the rest of your family actually does start to care and starts to enjoy having a clean house. You might find that they just didn’t know what they were missing out on. And you’ll probably find that it’s a lot easier to ask people to help out in the future when the house is already mostly under-control instead of in an overwhelming state of chaos. You also might find that taking the lead in this area of running the house really does make your own life a whole lot more peaceful.
You Don’t Clean Every Day
Guess what? When you’re the boss of housekeeping and you’re running a household, you don’t get days off. When you’re a grown-up you don’t get to say “I can’t ‘adult’ today”. (Ha! I hate those t-shirts.) You’re an adult and you have to adult. Every day. You don’t get a break. But when you make cleaning a part of your everyday routine, you also don’t need a break. Being on top of things actually becomes pleasant and enjoyable. Doing a little bit of cleaning every day and living in a house that is stays mostly clean and tidy is kind of a reward in itself!
Instead of trying to work up the nerve to try to do one big torturous cleaning day every once in awhile, just do a few minutes every single day. Be a grown-up about it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly things start to become clean and tidy, and how easy it is to keep them that way.
Have you discovered any little habit changes like these that have made it so much easier to keep your house clean?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.